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July 15, 2011


By Joe Clements

WOBURN — Albeit headed in opposite directions strategy wise, Colony Realty Partners and Fairlane Properties have both been traversing Route 128 of late, and this week the CRE investors crossed paths here at 275 Wildwood Ave. in a $16.1 million transaction. Cambridge-based Fairlane bought the 174,000-sf warehouse from CRP, lured by a fully occupied building that offers long-range upside, according to President Michael Grill.

“We feel it is a great deal for Fairlane Properties and its investors,” Grill tells The Real Reporter. Negotiated by CBRE/New England, the acquisition was financed by an $11.1 million mortgage from Brookline Bank. The buyer declined to discuss specifics, citing confidentiality agreements, whereas calls to CBRE/NE Capital Markets team were not returned by press deadline. CBRE/NE principals Gary Lemire, William Moylan and VP Matthew Pullen handled the process. Also not responding were principals at CRP.

Industry professionals tracking the deal say that there were multiple suitors, but cite Fairlane’s past performance for being tabbed to secure the building that was attractive even on an institutional level. Fairlane’s “track record on closing and ability to obtain equity and debt financing has served (the investment group) well,” offers one observer. “They were an easy second choice,” seconds another. Presently, Fairlane owns a mix of product types in communities close to Boston including Cambridge, Newton and Westwood, and Grill says his firm is on the lookout for similar opportunities. Distressed product is not the focus at present he says, instead favoring cash-flowing product that can benefit from a hands-on, proactive stewardship.

The $12.3 million acquisition of 80 Wilson Way in Westwood was Fairlane’s most recent purchase, having been consummated last June. “It is working out terrifically well,” Grill says of that asset, an 117,000 sf warehouse building with characteristics similar to 275 Wildwood Ave.

CRP purchased 275 Wildwood Ave. in Nov. 2006 for $16.3 million. The property benefitted from the group’s own CRE acumen, according to one suburban veteran who says the improvements caught the attention of players such as Fairlane. And while dating to the 1970’s, 275 Wildwood Ave. has held up impressively over the years, according to that source who credits clear heights of 30 feet and other features as being able to accommodate modern industrial users. There is also an unusually large parcel at 17 acres, opening the possibility for future development on the site, some maintain.

That would appear well off into the future, however, with indications that there will be little for Fairlane to address over the near term. Grill declined to reveal any strategy, but did praise Brookline Bank for participating in another purchase, with the lender also financing Fairlane’s Westwood purchase. “They are easy to deal with from start to finish,” Grill says, with the Woburn loan handled by Wes Blair and Dan Ouellette.


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